Day 701: PACE calls on national parliaments to recognize Russia’s deportations of Ukrainian children as genocide

IL-76 plane crash: Russia’s FSB pulled Russian VIP officials off the plane at the last moment, only five bodies were delivered to a morgue in Belgorod. PACE calls on national parliaments to recognize Russia’s deportations of Ukrainian children as genocide. Two more countries join a drone capability coalition.

IL-76 plane crash: Russia’s FSB pulled Russian VIP officials off plane at last moment, only five bodies delivered to Belgorod morgue

Several high-ranking Russian officials were scheduled to be on board the IL-76 military aircraft which came down in Russia’s Belgorod region on Wednesday. At the last moment, Russia’s security service warned them not to get on the plane, Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, told Radio Liberty.

“Several Russian ‘VIP officials’ from the political-military leadership of the aggressor state were scheduled to be on the plane for the flight. Their names are known and will be made public, and materials will be provided as part of an international investigation. But at the last moment, FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service] actually ordered them not to board this plane and use other modes of transportation. This information was clarified after the event occurred,” Yusov said.

The FSB and military ordered officials from the ministry of emergency situations to leave the crash site before they had completed their investigation, he added.

“[Rescue workers] were not allowed to check and locate the crash site according to protocols,” Yusov said. He added that video footage and photographs from the crash site did not show any human remains. He also claimed that “only five bodies ended up in the morgue in Belgorod.” 

“The number equals that of the crew needed to man the IL-76 aircraft of the Russian aerospace forces,” Yusov said.

PACE calls on national parliaments to recognize Russia’s deportations of Ukrainian children as genocide 

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimously passed a resolution Thursday on the situation of the children of Ukraine. In the resolution, the Assembly calls on its member states to recognize Russia’s deportations of Ukrainian children as an act of genocide, Oleksiy Honcharenko, Ukrainian MP and chairperson of PACE’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons said on Telegram Thursday.   

“[The resolution] is an important document that [brings us] one step closer to holding the Russians liable for their crimes against the Ukrainians. Abduction of our children, their illegal deportation and adoption into Russian families are deliberate acts aimed at erasing their Ukrainian identity,” Honcharenko said. 

The resolution also urges PACE’s member states hosting Ukrainian refugees with children to continue to provide essential services to them, he added.

According to Yevhenia Kravchuk, Ukrainian MP and PACE member, more clauses on children’s protection have been added to the text, compared to the resolution on Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children passed last April. 

The resolution restates that Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children could be genocide. The Assembly calls on its member states to step up support for Ukrainian government agencies and non-governmental organizations that work with internally displaced children. The Assembly also welcomes Ukraine’s efforts to establish an international coalition of countries to return Ukrainian children.

On November 27, 2023, PACE created an ad-hoc committee to address the violations of Ukrainian children’s rights by Russia. 

On December 9, 2023, Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, said that Ukraine had returned 387 children through third countries of almost 20,000 abducted by Russia.

Ukraine has brought back home from Russia 517 illegally deported children and 2,828 adults, including only 150 civilians, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets said during a meeting of national security advisers from around the world on Ukraine’s Peace Formula in Davos on January 14, 2024.

Two more countries join drone capability coalition

Sweden and the UK have joined a coalition to bolster Ukraine’s drone and electronic warfare capabilities, Ukrainian media said on Thursday, citing the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Swedish Defense Minister, Pål Jonson announced the decision at a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on January 23.

The UK will co-lead the coalition with Latvia.

“Technology, not people will fight. The drone coalition will bring us one step closer to this goal. It will save many lives. By strengthening and developing production of unmanned aircraft systems, we are transforming the army and making latest technology a reality,” Kateryna Chernohorenko, Deputy Minister of Defense for Digital Development, Digital Transformation and Digitalization said.

Ukraine and Latvia launched the drone and electronic warfare capability coalition during the visit of Latvian Defense Minister, Andris Spruds to Kyiv in mid-December 2023. 

In the beginning of January 2024, Latvia took the lead in assembling a coalition to arm Ukraine with drones.

Bashkortostan Protests and the Future of the Russian Federation. Ukraine in Flames #564

The recent mass protests in Bashkortostan, rallying in support of imprisoned activist Fail Alsynov, have highlighted a clear reality: Russia’s existence is shaped not only by expansion but also by the assimilation of indigenous peoples. Bashkortostan is currently witnessing unprecedented repression, with four criminal cases opened for mass riots linked to support for Alsynov. The choice of the indictment shows how much Moscow fears the rise of separatist sentiments in the regions. Watch Ukraine in Flames #564 to find out about the protests in Bashkortostan, explore the events that triggered them, draw historical parallels, and examine the implications of Bashkir protests for Ukraine in its struggle for freedom.


  • Ruslan Gabbasov, Head of the Bashkir National Political Center, One of the Leaders of the “Bashkort” Movement
  • Yuriy Syrotiuk, Director of the Analytical Center “Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Research”, Junior Sergeant of the 5th Separate Assault Brigade
  • Yevhen Buket, Correspondent of “ArmyInform”